Please note that I originally wrote this for a fantasy basketball site so some of the player notes are geared for that audience. Let me know what ya think, especially if you think it sucks!
1. Cleveland - Nerlens Noel PF/C: The Cavs need a SF, but #1 overall seems like a reach for Otto Porter. I'm sure they wouldn't mind trading down a few spots to select Porter, but since this draft doesn't have a definite #1 prospect, I don't see many GM's wanting to pick first.
Noel is recovering from ACL surgery and he broke the growth plate in his left knee in high school so the injury history is a big concern. When healthy, Noel is athletic, runs the floor well, and a great shot blocker so fantasy owners should obviously keep him on their radar. His offense is very raw and he struggles with free throws & field goal %.
2. Orlando - Ben McLemore SG: The Magic have some nice young talent in Harris, Vucevic, & Harkless. They could definitely use a PG so it would not be a shock if they take Trey Burke here. I've heard some people suggest Victor Oladipo. Orlando has also hinted that they are willing to trade their 2nd pick.
I have them taking Ben McLemore because of his upside, athleticism, and great shooting mechanics. The Magic could trade Afflalo, which would open up the SG position for McLemore. Ben does need to work on his aggression, first step, and handles. I don't think it's fair to compare him to Ray Allen, but I do think McLemore has the best chance at becoming an all-star in this draft class.
3. Washington - Otto Porter SF: Washington lucked out in the lottery when they received the 3rd pick. Their backcourt is set with Wall & Beal. They have been rumored to have some interest in Anthony Bennett, yet Porter makes the most sense to me.
Otto Porter doesn't have a high ceiling or the ability to dominate a single category, but he does a lot of things very well and has potential to be the best rookie in fantasy due to the fact that he's NBA ready and won't hurt you in a category. Plus he's a Georgetown guy so playing for Washington would be a nice fit.
4. Charlotte - Anthony Bennett PF/SF: With exception to MKG & Kemba Walker, the Horncats really need help in a lot of ways. Oladipo could land in Charlotte, but this team needs offense and I'm not confident that Victor has the offensive upside to justify the pick.
Bennett has an NBA ready body, a nice repertoire on offense including a great finishing ability and a solid 3 point shot for a big man. At 6'7, he's short for a PF, although he does have a 7'1 wingspan. He's athletic, but needs to improve his defense, specifically his quickness and motor. Bennett is recovering from a shoulder injury and isn't expected to participate in the Summer League, so watch him closely in preseason action.
5. Phoenix - Victor Oladipo SG: Oladipo has amazing defensive potential, solid athleticism, and a great motor. He can defend multiple positions as well. Victor improved a lot at Indiana last season but still needs a lot of work on his handles and long range shot. I think he'll be better in real basketball than fantasy, although he should be able to contribute immediately and help your fantasy team with steals, rebounding, and percentages for a SG.
6. New Orleans - Trey Burke PG: Burke is undersized for a point guard, but he makes up for it with his wingspan, basketball IQ, and shooting ability. He needs to work on finishing around the rim in order to stick in the NBA. I could also see the Pelicans taking Alex Len here, but I think Burke is the right pick assuming he drops this far, even with Greivis Vasquez on the roster. Trey is the top PG in the draft in my opinion.
7. Sacramento - Alex Len C: The Ukrainian big man could go higher than 7th due to his 7'1 size & 7'4 wingspan. Len has the ability to showcase a back to the basket game, a skill that less big man seem to develop anymore. Like most young centers, he needs to improve his footwork and post-game. I'm expecting a Meyers Leonard type of rookie season from Len so fantasy owners shouldn't reach on draft day. He's a good choice for dynasty leagues though because of the big upside.
8. Detroit - Michael Carter-Williams PG: The 6'6 PG from Syracuse also has a lot of upside due to his passing ability and size. He currently needs to improve his shooting, especially from downtown, inside the lane and finishing at the rim. MCW also needs to work on turning the ball over less. He turned the ball over during 26% of possessions last season and that won't fly in the NBA or your fantasy team. MCW isn't ready to start in the NBA, although he has the physical tools to be the best point guard in the draft down the road.
9. Minnesota - Shabazz Muhammad SG/SF: People seem to either love or hate 'Bazz. There was a lot of hype surrounding Muhammad coming out of high school and he left a lot to be desired with his one and done year at UCLA, a system that also may have caused the stock to drop for Westbrook & Love. Shabazz has the ability to score, yet he didn't do much else during his time in Westwood. He didn't even average an assist per game and his defense leaves a lot to be desired. The lefty needs to improve going right and make sure he stays in shape in order to compete at the next level. Muhammad is also a year older than people thought, making his high school career and freshman year at UCLA seem less impressive.
Minnesota needs shooters and 'Bazz shot the ball well with his feet set. I think McLemore makes the most sense for Minnesota, but they might not have the chips to move up that far in the draft. The Wolves could also take a big man here and go for a SG with their 26th pick, since there is a lot of depth at the position in this draft.
10. Portland - C.J. McCollum PG/SG: The combo guard was injured for most of the year, yet his stock, like Noel's, didn't really change. He's a great shooter so it wouldn't surprise me if he gets picked by Minnesota with the 9th pick. I think he would work well in the Portland system as a 6th man for scoring off the bench and a backup PG to Lillard. If healthy, McCollum should be ready to contribute immediately so fantasy owners should take note.
11. Philadelphia - Cody Zeller PF/C: The younger Zeller had a nice combine after a somewhat disappointing season at Indiana, so it wouldn't surprise me if he goes as high as 7th to Sacramento or 9th to the Wolves. Zeller needs to get stronger if he wants to be a starter in the NBA. He runs the floor well and has a diverse offensive game for a big man. He can get to the free throw line and won't hurt you with percentages. It remains to be seen if he can handle the C position at the next level, but Philadelphia could use another big man after trading away Vucevic, and gambling on Bynum. Zeller doesn't have a great wingspan, but he's close to NBA ready and has a high floor.
12. Oklahoma City - Steven Adams C: OKC has done a good job collecting assets and giving them minutes in the D-League like they did with Jeremy Lamb after the Harden trade. Adams is very raw, but has the physical tools that impressed scouts during his season at Pitt and at the combine recently. OKC seems like a good fit because they can let him develop in the D-League for a season or two. Adams might have the highest upside of any C in this draft, but fantasy owners will need to be patient for at least a year or two. I'm curious to see how the New Zealander does during the Summer League.
13. Dallas - Kelly Olynyk PF/C: Sounds like Olynyk is better suited to play PF in the NBA because he can shoot from the perimeter well, and scouts claim he needs a lot of work on his defense and rebounding ability at the NBA level. He's not a great athlete, but he can handle the ball well for a 7 footer as he showed at the combine. Olynyk has the offensive diversity that is rare for someone his size and I think he would be a good fit coming off the bench in Dallas initially.
14. Utah - Dennis Schroeder PG: The German PG impressed scouts during the Nike Hoop Summit recently and his stock has risen ever since. Schroeder has a good first step and speed, but needs to improve finishing at the rim. He's good at pick and roll situations and has the quickness to compete on defense. The Jazz could use a PG prospect, giving them a nice young core of Kanter, Favors, and Hayward. Rumors are that at least one team has promised Schroeder that they'll select him in the 1st round. I would be surprised if he doesn't get picked by Utah.
15. Milwaukee - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope SG: KCP played on a bad Georgia team but put up nice stats, even though his 3PT % wasn't good. He was asked to be the man at Georgia, yet profiles better as a number 2 or 3 option in the NBA. KCP needs to improve his handles and slashing ability moving forward. Milwaukee makes sense for KCP, even if Reddick returns. He could go as high as 9th to Minnesota.
16. Boston - Giannis Antetokounmpo SF: Celtics President Danny Ainge is rumored to be very interested in the high upside of Antetokounmpo, an 18 year old from Greece. Giannis is very raw, but scouts like his physical tools including his giant hands, big 7'3 wingspan, and good frame that should be able to add weight easily when he gets older. Antetokounmpo also has the ability to bring the ball up the court like a point guard, although he profiles as a SF in the NBA. He needs to work on his perimeter shooting and shooting mechanics. He's years away from making an impact in the NBA so a team like Boston may choose to stash him in Europe for a season, then bring him along slowly in the D-League. Deep dynasty leagues can also stash him or use him as a trade chip to a rebuilding team.
17. Atlanta - Gorgui Dieng C: Dieng is a mature 23 years old and ready to contribute right away. The Hawks have two picks back-to-back and I think they take a C with one of the picks. Dieng has a 7'4 wingspan and defensive potential that helps make up for his perceived lack of upside due to his age. He could be a backup C off the bench, or allow Horford to play more PF.
18. Atlanta - Sergey Karasev SG/SF: The solid shooter from Russia impressed at the Nike Hoop Summit, showing off his strong basketball IQ, passing ability, and good court vision. Karasev isn’t very fast or strong, and he needs to improve his defense against NBA wing players. Don’t be shocked if Atlanta trades one of these picks.
19. Cleveland – Dario Saric SF/PF: Saric messed up a lot of mock drafts recently when reports claimed that he was no longer entering the draft. He just confirmed that he will indeed enter, and could easily go as high as 13th to Dallas. I have him falling to Cleveland, which would make the Cavs happy since Saric profiles more as a SF in the NBA. He’s got good handles and passing ability, but needs to improve his shooting mechanics and consistency.
20. Chicago – Jamaal Franklin SG/SF: The Bulls could use help at SG and Franklin at 6’5 has nice size for the position. He averaged over 9 rebounds per game last season at San Diego St., a very impressive number for a 2 guard. Franklin is aggressive and has a great motor. Yet another player that could easily go higher in the draft.
21. Utah - Mason Plumlee PF/C: The Duke big man is close to NBA ready and the Jazz could use him if Milsap or Jefferson leaves Salt Lake. Plumlee is a solid post player and good in transition. He’s athletic for his size, but needs to work on his perimeter game and pick and roll quickness. He hould contribute this season in fantasy and has more upside than his older brothers.
22. Brooklyn - Jeff Withey C: Withey excels on the defensive end with his ability to block shots without committing fouls. He’s not very athletic on the offensive end, but his shot blocking ability is very appealing for fantasy.
23. Indiana - Shane Larkin PG: Undersized at 5’11, yet very athletic, the former Miami point guard has shot up draft boards over the past few months. He registered a 44-inch vertical at the combine, the second highest ever. That said, he’ll need to improve finishing at the rim if he wants to be a starting PG in the NBA.
24. New York - Tony Mitchell PF/SF: Mitchell might have the most athletic upside in the draft, but scouts question his motor after a lackluster season at North Texas. He’s got an NBA -ready body and the athletic ability to come off the bench early in the season. Just needs to stay focused and hustle during every possession. I don’t think he’ll fall past the Knicks.
25. LA Clippers - Rudy Gobert C: Crazy wingspan and standing reach at 7’8 ½ & 9’7, the French center is a project that could pay off in a few years. Gobert isn’t very athletic and appears too mechanical at times. His offensive game is extremely raw, but his defense has a lot of potential due to his length. Not ready to contribute from a fantasy perspective so draft accordingly.
26. Minnesota - Mike Muscala PF/C: Muscala is a good shooter for his size at 6’11 and passes the ball well. He didn’t get much attention playing for Bucknell, but scouts like his well-rounded game and improved defense and strength.
27. Denver – Allen Crabbe SG: Great size for a 2 guard at 6’6 and a good scorer in transition. Crabbe needs to add strength and improve his handles. As a shooter he has solid mechanics and good range. Crabbe could go to a team like Minnesota if they select a big man with the 9th pick.
28. San Antonio - Glen Rice Jr. SF: Rice turned heads in the D-League last season with his consistent jump-shot, strong frame, and ability to rebound and block shots. If Rice can improve his first step and handles, he could become a starter in the league for years. He is ready to contribute next season so move him up your fantasy draft boards.
29. Oklahoma City - Lucas Nogueira PF/C: The Brazilian is a good rebounder and shot blocker, but is very raw offensively. He’s got a 7’5 wingspan, yet needs to add size and strength to his frame. Another project for the Thunder.
30. Phoenix – Tim Hardaway Jr. SG: Hardaway didn’t get to showcase his offensive skills at Michigan with Burke, GRIII, and McGary on the same team. He has to improve his shot selection and consistency. He’s athletic and has a diverse game that will help him at the next level.
Other possible 1st Round Picks: Tony Snell SG/SF, Reggie Bullock SG/SF, Archie Goodwin SG, Livio Jean-Charles SF/PF, Pierre Jackson PG, Isaiah Canaan PG, Ricardo Ledo SG
I still think Charlotte should target a center like Len at #4, and I dont think Gobert is gonna fall that far.
I like your top 6, exactly what I have. I don't see Sacramento taking Len if Zeller is there. I think Zeller is the perfect compliment to Cousins. As a Bulls fan, I don't want Franklin. We need players who can stretch the floor for Rose. I'd much rather have someone like Crabbe, Bullock, or possibly Glen Rice Jr.
No way OKC passes on Tim Hardaway Jr. to take Bebe. With Steven Adams on board I think they go with Hardaway to give them
a guy like James Harden with his shooting, passing, and ball handling.
OKC then covers the center and wing spots and can go best player available at 32.
Good draft though. I think Withey is too low on most draft boards.
Thanks for the feedback guys.
Wouldn't be a shock if Charlotte selects Len, I just feel like Bennett's offensive upside is too intriguing to pass up. The Horncats need offense big time.
I didn't think of Franklin being a bad fit for the Bulls, but understand why someone like Rice Jr. or Crabbe makes sense there.
As for OKC & Hardaway Jr. I am confident that Jeremy Lamb will get minutes next season and he'll impress coming off the bench. I think the Thunder can target a wing with their early second round pick since they should have some options at that point. SG is really deep in this draft, at least on paper.
I think the Jazz would take Lucas Nogueria over Mason Plumlee. The Jazz could use a defensive anchor in the middle.
I actually really like the idea of Sacramento picking up Alex Len, if he falls that far. Like you said, not very many post players actually have a post game anymore. We all saw how good Memphis could be with 2 post players, and if this happens we could see that in Sacramento with Len and Cousins if he pans out
I don't see how snell will not end up in the first round! Too much potential with his physical stature
Dario Saric withdraws from the draft so I made some changes to the mock. I had Saric going to Cleveland at #19. Now I could see the Cavs taking Jamaal Franklin there.
Jeff Withey moves up to Chicago at 20. I can see them looking at Rice Jr. or Crabbe here as well.
Gobert goes to Brooklyn. I'm still not as high on Gobert as others.
Glen Rice Jr. moves up to the Clippers, and Reggie Bullock moves into the 1st round.
1. Cleveland - Nerlens Noel PF/C:
2. Orlando - Ben McLemore SG:
3. Washington - Otto Porter SF:
4. Charlotte - Anthony Bennett PF/SF:
5. Phoenix - Victor Oladipo SG:
6. New Orleans - Trey Burke PG:
7. Sacramento - Alex Len C:
8. Detroit - Michael Carter-Williams PG:
9. Minnesota - Shabazz Muhammad SG/SF:
10. Portland - C.J. McCollum PG/SG:
11. Philadelphia - Cody Zeller PF/C:
12. Oklahoma City - Steven Adams C:
13. Dallas - Kelly Olynyk PF/C
14. Utah - Dennis Schroeder PG:
15. Milwaukee - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope SG:
16. Boston - Giannis Antetokounmpo SF:
17. Atlanta - Gorgui Dieng C:
18. Atlanta - Sergey Karasev SG/SF:
19. Cleveland – Jamaal Franklin SG/SF: (moves up)
20. Chicago – Jeff Withey C:
21. Utah - Mason Plumlee PF/C:
22. Brooklyn - Rudy Gobert C: (moves up)
23. Indiana - Shane Larkin PG:
24. New York - Tony Mitchell PF/SF:
25. LA Clippers - Glen Rice Jr. SF/SG: (moves up)
26. Minnesota - Mike Muscala PF/C:
27. Denver – Allen Crabbe SG:
28. San Antonio - Tim Hardaway Jr. SG:
29. Oklahoma City - Lucas Nogueira PF/C:
30. Phoenix – Reggie Bullock SG/SF: (moves into 1st round)